Plastic is everywhere and has become a serious threat to the environment and to health. To replace plastic, materials scientists have looked to nature for examples. The target material has to be tough, light, and versatile –like compounds found in silk, insect wings, and shrimp shells. A very promising replacement based on such compounds has been developed by Javier Fernández of the Wyss Institute of Harvard. The material, which these scientists called “shrilk,” is modeled on natural compounds. It is biodegradable and also biocompatible, meaning it can be used in medical applications including surgery. Shrilk can be produced inexpensively and it can be molded into complex shapes varying in stiffness and elasticity.
Dr. Javier G. Fernández explains the urgent need to replace plastic, the challenge of developing innovative materials like shrilk, and the great many uses for this new material.
BIO: Yvonne Stapp
Yvonne Stapp runs Science for the Public, a grassroots organization whose mission is to improve public understanding of science. Science is essential to the vitality of modern culture, and science depends on public commitment to the scientific community